DRAFT CSS/LULAC/LIFE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
The web site also answers some questions about the LIFE Act: http://uscis.gov/lpBin/lpext.dll/inserts/slb/slb-1/slb-9985/slb-24080/slb-25124?f=templates&fn=contents-frame.htm&up=1&2.0&cp=inserts/slb/slb-1/slb-9985/slb-24080/slb-25124&c=100&sync=2
Question: I entered without inspection in 1981 then I left the U.S in 1984 and came back with student visa. Do you know or have an idea what I should answer to question 8 and 9 on Form I-690 (Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability)
Question: I understand the new one year amnesty will be expiring on May 24, 2005. I have a question whether I should go ahead and file. My case is under Lulac and I've already filed a I-485 under the LIFE act. This case is still pending. Do you think that I should go ahead and file the I-687 concurrent w/ my I-485?
Answer: No. I would wait to file the CSS/Newman(LULAC) application later and first see what happens with your LIFE application. The deadline to file CSS/Newman(LULAC) applications has been extended to December 31, 2005. Check our web site from time to time www.legalizationusa.org
Question: Is an I-687 applicant required to submit a medical exam? How about an affidavit of support with tax returns, etc.? The instructions say these "may" establish admissibility, but don't come out and make them a clear-cut requirement.
Answer: No, you do not need to submit a medical exam or affidavit of support with the I-687.
Question: Must applicants show continuous residence from 1982 to 1988, or all the way from 1982 to today? It would seem to be easier to show residence for later dates than for the earliest ones, because many applicants have more evidence available for more recent years.
Answer: For CSS/Newman settlement cases - Applicant must show continuous unlawful residence from before 1/1/82 until the day on which they claim they attempted to apply for amnesty during the May 1987-May 1988 application period and were turned away. For LIFE Act adjustment cases: must show continuous unlawful residence from before 1/1/82 until May 4, 1988.
Question: I don't quite understand the parameters of continuous physical presence, either. The instructions say "brief, casual and innocent absences will not break the continuous physical presence requirement if made before 05/01/87." My client made two brief trips outside the U.S., from 11/87 to 12/87, and again from 12/88 to 02/89. Does this affect their eligibility?
Answer: There is not much difference between continuous unlawful residence from before 1/1/82 and continuous physical presence between 11/6/86 and the date on which the applicant was turned away (CSS/Newman settlements) or May 4, 1988 (for LIFE Act). Absences after 11/6/86 are okay if they were brief, innocent and casual. There is no set definition of brief. Generally, an absence of about one month will probably be considered brief. Absence must also be "innocent" – this means the trip was not to accomplish some illegal purpose such as obtaining a visa by fraud while the immigrant was abroad. However, using a previously issued non-immigrant visa to return illegally is okay. No waivers are needed for brief, innocent and casual absences. Absences after the applicant was turned away by the INS (for CSS/Newman applicants), or after May 4, 1988 (for LIFE Act applicants), are, in our opinion, irrelevant to eligibility. However, if a person at any time used a non-immigrnat visa to return illegally (any time after 1/1/82), they probably need a waiver. CIS may not recognize this, so it may be best to submit the application without a waiver, and then file one if it is requested.
Question: I want file work authorization application I-765 with my I-687 application. I have a few questions.
Question: I am unclear if my client applying through CSS (late amnesty) needs to pay the $175.00 fee for the employment application (I-765.) I have the I-687 but it is not clear on this issue since it states that some of the I-765 fees may be exempt under certain settlements. The USCIS homepage is also not clear on this issue. Please advise me on this issue and also on whether it is necessary that my client have completed the 40 hours of citizenship/civic classtime before we send her CSS application.
Answer: I believe it is not necessary that your client have completed the citizenship course, only that they are enrolled. On the question of the fee for the work permit, as I recall the applicant is entitled to one free EA application when the I-687 is filed. But I am copying this email to Carlos Holguin (Carlos, see her email below) and perhaps he can set us straight by another email on this subject. Be sure to visit our web site www.legalizationusa.org.
Question: I visited the Newark New Jersey to inquire about my case that was first filed under LULAC vs INS and then I was directed to file under LIFE ACT. The officer informed me that my case is still pending and will get a notice that I will be denied adjustment of Status to permanent resident shortly because I converted to a student visa in 1981-82 which make me ineligible under Life. She also said I would be able to provide a rebuttal that will be reviewed by the INS. Please let me know how to proceed as I need legal help to provide a rebuttal and obtain a hearing. Do I wait to get the denial from INS?
Answer: Sounds like you may fall into the IAP case. This case is close to a final settlement. The basic rules are that you must have been unlawfully in the U.S. from before 1982 until May 1988 (under LIFE Act) or the date during the 1987-88 application period when you were turned away by the INS or a QDE. You can be present illegally even if you possessed a facially valid visa. To qualify under LIFE or the CSS/NEWMAN settlements, if you entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa before 1982, you must show that before 1982 you violated the visa in a way that was "known to the Government." There are several ways you may have violated your status in a way that was "known to the Government." For details see the IAP settlement and exhibits to the settlement (either attached or check our web site www.legalizationusa.org.). The IAP case is also known as the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project v. CIS case (NWIRP). As soon as the CIS sends you a Notice of Intent to Deny or final denial, show the document to a lawyer familiar with the 1986 IRCA amnesty program and the "known to the Government" requirement, and have them represent you.
Question: Where can I request a copy of the amnesty form that was filed for me back in 1986 and what was it's (form) name or file number?
Answer: If you applied for a work permit under the CSS or LULAC cases many years ago (most people applied between about 1988 and 1995), it is very important that you obtain a copy of your application and any other documents you filed with the INS to help you with either your LIFE Act application or your application under the CSS/LULAC settlements. Most applicants under the LIFE Act or the CSS/LULAC settlements must supply declarations from friends and relatives to show that they came to the U.S. before 1982 and lived here illegally from 1982 to 1988. These declarations should also mention where the applicant lived and worked between 1982 and 1988 (if the person signing the declarations knew these things). This information should not be inconsistent with what the applicant said in his or her CSS/LULAC applications filed sometime between 1988 and 1995. Also, when the applicant is interviewed by the CIS, the CIS officer will probably have a copy of the old CSS/LULAC application and will ask the applicant about where he or she worked and lived in 1982-88. So, having a copy of the old CSS/LULAC applications is very important.
Applicants can obtain a copy of their old INS files by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the CIS. The form to use is available at the CIS web site (go to forms and search for the Freedom of Information Act form), or from the local CIS office, or from any attorney or non-profit office. The applicants INS/CIS file should be in one place (usually the office closest to where the applicant lives). However, the applicant can submit more than one FOIA form. For example, if you first applied under CSS/LULAC in one city, and later moved to another city, you can file a FOIA form with both CIS offices in both cities. On the form, request a complete copy of your INS/CIS file, including any documents relating to your CSS/LULAC application. Also attach proof of your identity (such as a copy of your driver's license). When you submit the form, it is best to mail it by certified mail and keep proof that you mailed it. Also keep a copy of whatever you submit to the CIS. It usually takes a few months to get a copy of your INS/CIS files. Once you obtain a copy of your file, study it carefully to refresh your memory about where you lived and worked during 1982-1988. Also examine your file and any declarations prepared by other people for you to see if the information about your date of first entry, places where you lived, and places where you worked, are consistent.
Question: I applied for change of status with the LIFE Act, which was denied because they needed more proof of continuous residence from 1981 to 1988, and I just had notarized affidavits. Currently I filed an appeal and I am still waiting for a resolution They still renew my work permit for another year. I also applied in 1991 under the CSS program. I would like to know what can I do in my current situation to get lawful residence?
Response: I would concentrate on winning the appeal of your LIFE Act case. If you do not win the appeal, you can also apply under the CSS settlement. Right now, the deadline to apply under the settlement is May 23, 2005. However, I believe the deadline will be extended to December 2005. You should check to see whether the deadline has been extended around mid-April 2005. If the deadline has not been extended, you should apply under the CSS settlement before the deadline. If the deadline has been extended, you should wait to file under the CSS settlement to see how your appeal turns out.
Regarding your LIFE Act appeal, you have the right to submit additional evidence as part of your appeal. You should do this. To collect more declarations, or better declarations from the people who already signed declarations for you, go to the web site www.legalizationusa.org. and make a copy on your computer of the form called Form to Gather Third Party Declarations. You should fill out as many forms as possible for people who already signed declarations for you and for new people who can sign declarations for you. It does not matter if these pople live in the U.S. or in your home country. You should have all your friends and relatives who know that you were living in the U.Sl between 1982 and 1988 sign declarations for you. The first step is for you to fill out one form for each person who can sign a declaration for you. If you do not know some information required by the form (such as the person's date of birth), then contact that person to get the information you need.
Once the forms are all filled in, then give them to an attorney to prepare the declarations for you. Make sure the attorney also has copies of your original CSS or LULAC application that you filed many years ago, and also a copy of your LIFE Act application. That way your attorney can make sure the declarations are consistent with the applications that you have filed with the INS or the CIS.
Once the declarations are completed by your attorney, your attorney should give them to you and you should send them to the people who will sign them for you. When you have all the declarations signed, return them to your attorney. Next, your attorney should send trhe declarations to the Administrative Appeals Office in Washington DC with a cover letter summarizing all of your evidence.
Even before doing this, your attorney should immediately write a letter to the Administrative Appeals Office requesting a copy of the Record of Proceeding. That is the record that the CIS relied upon when it decided your case. Your attorney should advise the Administrative Appeals Office that you want to file a legal brief and submit additional evidence within 30 days after you receive the Record of Proceedings. Any letters sent to the Administrative Appeals Unit should be sent by certified mail. You should get a copy of everything that your attorney submits to the CIS in your case., including the original notice of appeal. You should also study our web site www.legalizationusa.org. Copy things from the web site to your computer so you can study them and print them.
Question: If a class member submitted an application for class membership over ninety days ago and USCIS has not sent them an approval or denial, what should the class member do? Should they write a letter? Should they write a letter to USCIS in Lee's Summit? Any suggestions? Thanks.
Answer: CIS Assistant General Counsel Bob Raymond told us a few weeks ago that nobody's been denied class membership, but that they're not issuing approval notices. Therefore, if no denial has been issue, folks should assume class membership has been granted, and the CIS will proceed to adjudicate their I-687s. Assuming that's true, part of it is due to the CIS adopting a pseudo-front-desking practice for class member worksheets: If the applicant checks the wrong boxes, they'll send the application back so the applicant can have another chance to check the correct boxes, rather than formally deny the worksheet.
I would send a letter to the Chicago filing address asking about the status of the class member worksheet and I-687. It'll probably be ignored, but it could help some to cement the presumed approval of the class member worksheet. I'd be much more aggressive if the applicant is having problems with work authorization.